Joh 12:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Joh 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
Joh 12:40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
Joh 12:41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts.
These words have perplexed many minds.
Does a merciful God blind the eyes of his creatures?
We thought it was He who took away the heart of stone, and gave the heart of flesh. And so it is.
All good comes from him, and nothing but good.
But it is good to inflict righteous judgment, and there is a sin for which blindness is a righteous judgment.
When men love darkness rather than light, and obstinately refuse to come to the light, at length God blinds their eyes. For what use is sight to those who abide in darkness?
Jesus came a light into the world; but there were many whose deeds were evil, and who refused to come to the light, lest their deeds should be made manifest. It was these whose eyes were blinded, and whose hearts were hardened, so that they could not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts.
The dayspring from on high visited them, to guide their feet into the way of peace, through the tender mercy of their God...but they turned away from the glorious light from that light which fills all heaven with joy.
How it must have astonished angels to see men turn away from the Son of God!
Isaiah once beheld his glory in the temple. He beheld the Lord Jehovah sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, attended by the seraphim, who cried one to another, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is filled with his glory." This was the glory that Isaiah saw.
The apostles also saw the glory of the Son of Man; but it was displayed in a different manner. They beheld one clothed in flesh, yet possessed of divine power...they saw him suffering insults and injuries, and yet conferring benefits, and promising blessings.
The glory of the Son of God did not shine more brightly from his heavenly throne than it did through the veil of a human form.
But the blind in heart could not behold this glory. None saw it but those whose eyes God had opened. There is no calamity so great as to be blind to the glory of the Redeemer.
When we see a very enchanting sight, then it is that we pity the blind. When we look upon the beauties of the opening spring, or the splendor of the setting sun, then we feel compassion for those who can never be cheered by such lovely sights. When we behold the countenance of a dearly-beloved friend, a parent, or a child, then, above all, we feel for those who can never be delighted by seeing the objects of their fondest affections.
And when is it the Christian feels most for the blind world? When he contemplates the glories of his Savior, when he meditates upon his power, and faithfulness, and love, and thinks that there are men who never beheld these glories...who never will behold them...who do not desire to behold them.
Though the wicked shall see the Son of man come with power and great glory at the last day, yet they shall never comprehend his greatest glory which is his goodness.
Moses once prayed, and said, "Lord, I beseech you show me your glory;" and God answered, "I will make all my goodness pass before you." And then he proclaimed his name as the merciful, gracious, patience God, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin.
This is the glory which believers behold with so much satisfaction, but which unbelievers cannot see. In another world they will feel the power of God, and, like the devils, tremble beneath its weight but they will never, never know the God of love.
~ Favell Lee Mortimer (1802—1878~